Here’s a long article on the lost art of relaxation. I mean the real thing. Not just periodically taking a break, which many of us do, only to waste it worrying about all the things that aren’t getting done:
I like the comment from a clinical psychologist, to the effect that her practice is currently stuffed with patients of all ages who complain about their inability to relax. When asked what’s behind this, they cite “The Familiar Four”: Technology, phones, work emails and social media.
Those are sources of stress for most of us, but perhaps especially for those new to recovery, who find themselves with a dramatically lowered tolerance for stress. This is sometimes attributed to a central nervous system that’s still jangling from previous abuse. There’s not much point in pretending that all those years of dousing the brain with toxins hasn’t left its mark. One that fades and improves over time — if given the chance, of course.
Some suggestions from the link on “purposeful” relaxation:
“Try to remember what you most enjoyed doing as a child, then identify the most important aspect of that activity and find the adult version… If you loved playing in the sandpit, you might want to try pottery, or if you liked building things, you might want to make bread.” Coincidentally, I read something by an author who rediscovered his childhood love of cycling when he stumbled on his old Schwinn, abandoned in a corner of his parents’ basement. He left the antique where it was but bought himself a more modern version and began tooling about the neighborhood. Two years later and 25 lbs lighter, he leads bicycle tours of the city. I recall he described it as a way of getting outside himself and leaving the craziness behind.
“There is a growing body of research to suggest being out in nature is uplifting and nourishing.” True enough. Science has identified a range of benefits to both mental and physical health and wellbeing. Just one example from the current research: